After 60 years, the spark is still there

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DORSET — Sixty years of success began in 1958 when Terry and Helen Tyler started Tyler Electric & Security Inc. out of the back of their old station wagon in Dorset.

Eventually, with a little help from his good friend, Peter Brooks, Terry moved his operations out of the wagon and into Brooks' shop, which afforded more space.

While Terry was busy as an electrician by day and constable by night, his wife, Helen, kept the books for the business, billed the customers — a process that took one week per month to complete — and tracked down Terry when emergency calls came in.

During all of this, Brad Tyler, son of Terry and Helen and current owner of Tyler Electric, decided he wanted to work with his father. Terry wisely suggested that his son find employment as an electrician with someone else before joining the family business. So, Brad found a mentor in Terry's good friend, Dee Kilburn of Dee's Electric.

"I learned from the best," Brad says with appreciation when he thinks about how fortunate he is to have had such talented people — his parents, Dee Kilburn and Kilburn's sons — show him the ropes.

Ultimately, Brad went to work for his father where his attention to detail and electrical skills learned while working under Kilburn were reinforced. Roles reversed in 1992 when Brad purchased the operation from his parents and Terry started working for his son.

"I had a solid base to start with and great customers," Brad says about purchasing the company his parents built.

Shortly after becoming owner of Tyler Electric, Brad got a big break. He was asked to do the electrical work for one of the first ultra-large homes — 12,000 square feet — being built in Dorset. Ready for a challenge, Brad eagerly agreed to join the project. In order to prepare, he ordered two more trucks and hired two more electricians.

That one job allowed him the opportunity to grow his business, Brad noted. Now he has the equipment and manpower to consistently work on multiple large-scale projects. Brad is also quick to point out he couldn't do any of it without his hardworking, knowledgeable employees.

"One thing I've learned, if you want to keep good people, you have to pay them," Brad says when talking about his respect and commitment to his 10 employees — many who have been with the company for over 20 years.

When Terry started the company, the focus was on electrical. But by the 1970's, he had added the security side of the business. Now, as technology is constantly changing, Brad and his crew have been adding services. Today, Tyler Electric is wiring for smart homes, installing cameras, home theaters, and outdoor lighting — all while using the current technology.

"Things are more sophisticated and more intricate," Brad says in regards to the changes in the electrical industry. "You really have to know what you're doing because little things can turn into big things if you mess them up."

As the second home market continues to grow and his industry continues to change, Brad is finding more opportunities to meet new people and work on new projects. Meanwhile, he still finds time to chat to with his existing 1,600 customers; an impressive number which he credits to the company's ability to work with homeowners and general managers in the area.

A lot can happen in 60 years. A business can go from one station wagon to nine vehicles and ten employees. However, for Brad Tyler, being thankful to those who've helped along the way and treating employees and customers with respect are qualities that will never go out of style.

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